Posted by: markfender | August 9, 2011

White Water Rafting

I went white water rafting last week for three days down the Arkansas River.

(Yup, that’s me in the picture. I look excited.)

It was fun. The first day was pretty technical – a lot of shallow places and strange rocks that we had to do hair trigger turns on to get through. I managed to stay in the boat the whole time, although we did get to perform a daring rescue at sea for the boat in front of us that flipped. Then that night we camped out along the river with the guides doing a lot of cooking (We had lasagna in the dutch oven, as well as cheesecake). Then, it rained. So, just when we had gotten dry, we were wet again. The clothes that I had thrown over trees to dry just ended up getting wetter.

The next day started bright and early by putting on damp clothes (since everything was damp at that point) and rafting through Brown’s Canyon. This was the funnest day with lots of drops and water spray and crazy “people have died here” areas. The guides all had names for the rapids, which I can’t remember, but there were odd areas where you had to deliberately hit rocks in order to bounce correctly so that you wouldn’t be sucked down a plume of death (that’s my name for it – the guides probably had some sort of whimsical name for it). We saw one guide get ejected from his boat from a particularly long drop, but I managed to, again, stay in the boat. Then we dropped off most of our group (as they were only on a two-day trip) and we headed to the next camping site. Where it, again, rained. So we continued to be wet. That night we had steak and red velvet cake, watched the stars, and fell asleep to the sound of rain pounding off the tent.

The last day was more sedate. Our guide let each of us guide the boat ourselves at certain points so I learned how to make a boat go in the water. I also learned that sitting in the back of the boat you are far more likely to be ejected when you go over a drop (but I managed not to). By lunchtime, I was getting a dehydration headache (we lost our water bottles in a rapid), so was quite happy to get out and drink a gallon of water. And then in the afternoon, it, guess what, rained. The rain wasn’t too bad when you’re on the river, since you’re already wet, but the cloud cover and wind made it kind of cold. It was the first time the entire trip where the river water actually felt warm when it hit you. So I was quite glad that the trip ended at that point.

So, yeah, it was a lot of fun. If I did it again (which I would be amenable to), I would not want to camp out, though. I was quite tired of  being wet all the time.

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